Band Parodies

A little-known Red Shirt tradition that has persisted for decades is a tendency to parody popular bands of the day.

The earliest known example of this was the Arkadelphia Ink Spats, Red Shirt pledges who performed in blackface in imitation of the popular black singing group of the 1930s and 1940s the Ink Spots.

Another blackface group surfaced in the late 1960s as entertainment at Rho Sigma’s cross-dressing parody of the Miss OBU Pageant, the Mister Miss OBU Pageant. The Plates, with Jimmy Cornwell as lead singer, sang tunes made popular by the Platters. The last appearance of the Plates was in Spring 1971 when the group attempted to update its image by performing songs by Ike and Tina Turner.

The Plates were replaced in the Mister Miss OBU Pageant by what may be the most popular of Rho Sigma’s parodies, Teddy Bee and His Stingers. This rather greasy group, which parodied songs and mores of the 1950s and early 1960s, was an instant hit at its debut in Spring 1972. With a rotating list of members, the group ballooned into the 12-man Stinger Revue for a time, playing gigs all over south and central Arkansas. Although the group officially disbanded in 1975, requests for performances continued until 1995.

Red Shirts performing in these parody groups may not have had all that much talent, but performances were always fun for the band members and audiences alike. Never let it be said that Red Shirts don’t know how to have fun!